See It Instead Shark Movie Edition – The Shallows.
While we’re excited about new shark horror movie The Shallows, here are three classic flicks with fins to see instead. See It Instead Shark Movie Edition.
The Shallows (2016)
Nancy has found the perfect spot to surf: secluded, tranquil, pristine, and home to a gigantic man-eating predator. After the first encounter, she is able to fight to safety on a reef just 200 meters from the the shore, but the great white infinite patience and a taste for surfers. Alone, bloodied, and facing exposure to the elements, Nancy must be every bit as fierce as her opponent to survive.
This movie looks great, has a small cast (which I find to be the perfect set up for gripping horror, see last year’s excellent Ex Machina) and seems to avoid much of the sensational clap-trap that haunts modern shark movies. That being said, I found these three films you might consider instead.
The Serious Pick: Jaws 2 (1978)
Everyone loves and has seen the original Jaws. It’s a classic. Comparisons are already flying between The Shallows and Jaws. Bull pucky. There is no equal or comparison between Jaws and any other horror film. So I’m going to recommend the more approachable sequel, Jaws 2. (The rest of the Jaws series…eh, not so much.)
Chief Brody just can’t get over the horrors of his encounter with a great white shark. When people begin to die in mysterious accidents, he’s convinced that another shark is haunting Amity Beach. Nearly crazed with fear, he becomes a laughingstock of the town, which has a vested interest in keeping the beaches full and the sheriff silent. Eventually, his own family ignore his warnings and return to the beach, where a second show-down between the resourceful chief and the remorseless killing machine will come to a head.
This film is a psychological horror, and despite the numerous other cast members, is essentially a one-on-one mental struggle between Brody and the shark. Roy Scheider is magnificent in this film, completely manic and drenched in terror-sweat. The shark makes some spectacular kills, worthy of the franchise, but it’s Scheider’s gripping performance that make this a highly recommended film for fans of shark movies.
The Lighthearted Pick: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) is an eccentric and self-involved oceanographer whose career and family life are nearly finished. His latest, and likely last, film is shaping up to be a dud until a shark eats his lifelong friend, Estaban. Well, not exactly eats him…more like chews him up a bit…
Now on a mission of vengeance, he is joined by a surprise benefactor, a son (Owen Wilson) he never knew he had who helps him to find the elusive Jaguar Shark who killed his best friend. His vengeance becomes his redemption, as he learns to finally appreciate all the people around him who believe and love him, despite him being a complete ass.
I love this movie. Wes Anderson is an acquired taste, and I can’t claim to love his whole catalogue, but I love The Life Aquatic wholeheartedly. It’s one of the ten best comedies of all time in my book. Bill Murray is in top form and surrounded by talent like Angelica Houston, Willem DaFoe and Jeff Goldblum. This is also Owen Wilson’s finest role, and he provides a poignant heart to what could have been a very silly film. Check it out.
The Unconventional Pick: Open Water (2004)
2004 was a good year for shark movies. This film follows two scuba divers left to drift in the ocean in shark infested waters after their luxury vacation cruise fails to notice the missing couple. It is filmed in a “found footage” manner, and uses a shaky digital camera much of the time. It is an unsettling and nauseous affair at times, but being an early entry into the now over-populated genre, it was riveting at the time. The acting is not exactly great, but the film strives for super realism, allowing the use of real sharks. The beautiful setting contrasts with the hectic, sordid, and violent episodes found in the film as the couple starts to turn on each other. It is a fantastic early foray into found footage, and is a tense and terrifying film that seems all too plausible…maybe because it was based on several real events.